Spirituality: The Belief in God or Gods as it Relates to The Odyssey and The Godfather The concept of god is a way of describing a power within a story that is outside of human control. This power can also be ascribed to a human within a story, giving them a control that is beyond what is normally within the frame of human control. In The Odyssey, Odysseus experiences a series of encounters with god or godlike powers that he must overcome to continue on his journey. In the film The Godfather (1972), the Corleone family becomes the embodiment of godlike powers, their spiritual life enhancing the nature of their own power through events of violence.
The nature of myth and the way in which it defines powers within the supernatural experience can be seen in the nature of both epics, their respective contemporary cultures reflected through the defined powers that are beyond that of the human world. The Greek mythologies are designed with the expression of god embodying exaggerated human failures of character. The gods of the Greeks were petty, selfish, and full of hubris, even though they looked down on humans and punished them for the same kinds of characteristics.
The stories of the gods created a framework in which the nature of mankind was discussed, the challenges that they presented part of the explanation that helped ancient man to understand his world. Both the internal world of men and the external world of nature, its power and imposing destruction, was explained through the mythologies. Myth was the way in which the unknown was approached, mankind needing answers to questions that were often beyond the scope of any technology that could be defined. The nature of The Godfather films is similar in that a larger, mysterious organization was given context and explanation through the vision and myths created by Mario Puzo, the writer of the novel.
The novel was then translated into film by Francis Ford Coppola in which not only the myth of the Corleone family was brought into the public consciousness, but the film, itself, gained mythic status. According to Horrocks, The Godfather (1972) “peels away the veneer of civilization, revealing to us a culture steeped in blood and death” (79).
The myth of the masculinity of the ‘male corporation’, also found extensively in Western genre films, becomes more organized and brought into the modern context through the ‘mafia’ films as “the shrinking from domesticity and the emphasis on violence and death” creates a resource in which power is shifted to something that is more mythic and grandiose (Horrocks 70).
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